Other People’s Carts

July 30, 2009

Last night I was at the supermarket buying some groceries for dinner. I bought fish (the namorado, as I mentioned in my last post–it was terribly mediocre, but Scott was a good sport), and some wine, and the ingredients for guacamole and corn on the cob.

In front of me on line were two girls, a little younger than me, maybe college-aged (we’re pretending that’s only a little younger). They bought two liter-sized bottles of Coca-Cola, a packet of sliced cheese, a packet of sliced meat, a jar of Nutella, and a bag of dinner rolls. I’m not sure why this struck me–except maybe that’s exactly the kind of dinner I would be having if I was here by myself, or if I were writing a story about girls living on their own for the first time. I pictured their small apartment, with maybe only one real bedroom and one room carved out of the service area. I pictured piled up magazines that they spent the majority of their dinner money on. I bet they had damp bikinis hanging on the handles of the bathroom doors and little pots of lipgloss on the kitchen table along with their school books. Maybe there was a tapestry hanging on the wall, like the kind you buy on the beach here, and a quickly swept tiled floor like ours.

It’s always interesting to see what people put in their grocery carts, and sometimes even more interesting here since some of the cartons and packets and bottles are filled with totally perplexing substances. I liked where these girls were going, liked picturing ending their feast with swigs of Coke out of the bottle and spoonfuls of Nutella.



July 15, 2009

After putting up with Brazilian Creme do Amendoim for the past couple of weeks, we were sort of on a lackadaisical quest for normal peanut butter.  The Amendocrem is way too sweet and kind of gritty, pretty disappointing. After school today we wandered into a foreign Gàvea Zona Sul and found three banged up jars of Skippy (wahoo!).


They weren’t expired and the safety seals were all in tact, so we grabbed one of the jars and went to the check out.  The check out clerk tried to ring it up, but it didn’t scan so she put it aside and rang up everything else.  Then tried again.  Then typed in the number.  Then the manager came over and took a look, tried a different code, went over to the shelf where we got it.  Then he took our jar, and the remaining two jars and left the store.  What? Where did he go? It was pretty bizarre.  Ten minutes later he came back.

“This isn’t something that we sell here, this isn’t ours.” Weird.  Well, we still wanted to buy it, they just couldn’t figure out what to charge us.  He had called a different Zona Sul.  R$19 he said.  Ridiculous! Who would pay almost ten dollars for peanut butter.  We asked if they could make up a number.  After standing there for literally fifteen minutes while all of this happened, he grabbed a jar of Nutella (R$11) rang it up, and we set off with our Skippy.